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1 An Introduction
to Interviewing

W hen did you last take part in an interview? Don’t be surprised if you try to
recall the last time you interviewed for a job or internship. Most people, not
just students, think of interviewing as synonymous with employment interviews. A few
years ago one of the authors was talking with the administrator of a local hospital. He
commented that he had several nursing students in his interviewing course, to which
the administrator replied: “Nurses don’t need a course in interviewing; there are plenty
are daily
of nursing positions available all over the country.” It did not occur to the administra-
tor that interviewing courses cover a variety of interviews other than employment and
that nurses are involved in information giving and getting, counseling, and persuasive
interviews every single day, most of them involving the health and safety of patients.
When we give or get information, counsel or are counseled, interview for a position or
recruit for a position, persuade or are persuaded, we are taking part in interviews, the
most common form of purposeful, planned communication. Interviews may be formal
or informal, unstructured or structured, simplistic or sophisticated, supportive or threat-
ening. They may last for a few minutes to hours and be intimate or highly functional.
Interviews share characteristics with intimate interactions, social conversations,
small groups, and presentations, but they are significantly different. This chapter identi-
fies the essential elements of interviewing, distinguishes interviewing from other forms
of interpersonal communication, focuses on the interview as a relational form of commu-
nication, and discusses the uses and challenges of participating in electronic interviews.

The Essential Elements of Interviews
An interview is interactional because there is an exchanging, or sharing, of roles,
responsibilities, feelings, beliefs, motives, and information. If one person does all
of the talking and the other all of the listening, a speech to an audience of one, not
and sharing.
an interview, is taking place. Although we traditionally identify the interviewer and
interviewee in interviews, we often interchange these roles as interviews progress. For
instance, if as an interviewee we ask questions about Internet security with one of our
Roles may school’s Web specialists, make a counteroffer for a hybrid automobile, quiz a recruiter
switch from about a summer position at a dude ranch in Colorado, or request a nurse practitioner
moment to
to explain the possible side effects of a prescribed drug, we assume the role of inter-
viewer for the moment and the interviewer takes on the role of interviewee. As the


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pre- paring insightful and challenging questions.”1 Our creating and sharing comes from words and nonverbal signals—touches. concerns. On the other It takes two hand. the ratio might be reversed with the interviewer doing most of the talking and questioning.” the interview is likely to fail. sympathy). expectations. and information. anger. historic. freedom. be aware of your feelings (pride. journalistic. replying honestly interview and fully to questions. It takes two parties to make an interview a success. and if either party “plays it safe. motives (security. such as information giving and sales. coun- seling. and recruiting. That is why we will address the roles of both interviewer and interviewee throughout this book. ever-changing their desires to achieve specific goals. the recruiter is responsible for studying the applicant’s credentials. exchanges of information. the roles switch back to traditional ones. continuing. health care.indd 2 8/23/07 2:23:42 PM . Process A process is a dynamic. ambition). John Stewart claims that “Human communicators are always sending and receiv- ing simultaneously. with the interviewee doing most of the talking. levels of disclosure. Close interpersonal interchanges such as interviews involve risk that can be minimized but never eliminated. data. For example. involve risk. verbal and nonverbal messages. or gives explanations. the applicant is responsible for doing a careful self-analysis. and assumptions. beliefs. hugs. listening. Interactional does not mean equal. Both parties are responsible for the success or failure of each interview. occurs in a vacuum. motivation. religious). motives. and the persuader in the persuasive interview. makes a counteroffer. we tend to focus on the responsibilities of one party—the applicant in the recruiting interview. The parties in each interaction generate energy through is a complex. Both parties must determine an appropriate ratio. handshakes. expectations. organization. and asking carefully phrased questions about the position and a success. such as journalistic. answers questions. and reactions. John Stewart writes that communication “is a collaborative process of verbal and nonverbal meaning-making through which we construct the worlds of meaning All interviews we inhabit. Interactional also means a sharing of responsibilities. the inves- tigator in the journalistic or police interview. beliefs (social. In others. experiences. Few interviews are successful if either party is unwilling to share feelings.”2 Although each interview is unique in some No interview respects. economic. 2 Chapter 1 other person responds. all involve an interaction of communication ingredients such as perceptions. fear. an ideal division of speaking time might be 70 percent to 30 per- cent. and information (facts. When thinking of common interviews such as recruiting. belonging. and facial looks—that express interest. Before an interview begins. political. Communication interactions are not static. preparing thorough to make an and honest credentials. and replying honestly and fully to the applicant’s questions. Each party brings knowledge. ever-changing interaction of variables with a An interview degree of system or structure. The interview is truly a mutual activity and will not work if either party fails to appreciate the collaborative nature of the effort. researching the organization and position. opinions) and those of the other party. Role process. being up-to-date on information about the organization. the health care professional in the medical interview. feedback. ste06716_ch01_001-018. and persuasive. and revelations of feelings and motives produce reactions and insights that lead to new and unexpected areas of insight and explora- tion. In some interviews. As a result each communicator has the opportunity to change how things are going at any time in the process. changes.

There is one party in the first setting and five parties A dyadic pro- in the second. and closing interviews. once an interview begins. If more than two parties are involved (for example. and personal limitations to the interaction.”4 We may commu- nicate effectively or poorly. but one another. takes place at a specific loca- tion surrounded by objects. Chapter 2 develops a interviewee party. This prede- have a degree termined and serious purpose distinguishes the interview from social conversation or of structure. An interview occurs at a specific time and on a specific date. for instance. the interviewer will plan the opening.”3 Like other processes. and determine how to close the interview. Sarah Trenholm and Arthur Jensen. In most effective interviews. and adding parties transforms it into a cess involves two parties. distinctly different interaction. persons. interviews must have a degree of advanced planning and structure. Purpose At least one of the two parties must come to an interview with an important goal—other All interviews than mere enjoyment—and intention to focus on specific subject matter. The result may be suc- never more than two parties—an interviewer party and an cess or failure. Parties Interviews may involve two or more people (two recruiters interviewing a graduat- ing senior. informal. mutual concern that each party finds the interaction ste06716_ch01_001-018. The interview is a dyadic process. two police officers interviewing a crime victim. but never more than two parties.indd 3 8/29/07 11:29:51 AM . and is preceded or fol- photo by Digital Vision/Getty Images lowed by events that may impact it for good or ill. An Introduction to Interviewing 3 pressures. three accountants discussing a financial report or four unrelated buyers making different offers to the owner of a fishing boat). Chapter 4 deals with the principles and techniques of opening. a small group interaction is taking place. not an interview. interviewing process. gather information. general summary model that intro- duces. Although good conversations and interviews share many characteristics such as exchanging speaking and listening. but we will communicate something as long as we are within sight or sound of ■ More than two people may be involved in an interview. and illustrates the many communication variables that interact in the Once initiated. note that “Communication always takes place in a cultural context. three friends interviewing an apartment owner). developing. the interview is an ongoing process. discusses. we “cannot not communicate. unplanned interactions such as meeting a friend on the street. and sounds. select topics. prepare questions. even if we have little more than a purpose and topics in mind. While conver- sations are rarely organized in advance.

include a mixture of tions and answers. consist entirely of questions and involve ques- answers. Chapter 3 introduces you to a variety of question types and their uses and misuses. counseling. A supervisor is conducting a quarterly performance review meeting with an associ- ate in his division. All interviews such as market surveys and journalistic interviews. present. imag- ine visiting a friend or coworker who always plans conversations ahead of time. and health care. 1. questions you will ask. On the other hand. determine which of the following interac- tions constitutes an interview and which does not. W. Imagine going to an employer to ask for a raise or time off or to a recruiter for tion and much a summer internship without giving thought to how you will begin. inter- multiple roles view for an internship. many of which require specialized training and specific abilities. Quiz #1—What Is and Is Not an Interview? With our definition of interviewing in mind. how could we discuss a Questions play grade with a professor. answers you will give. such as recruiting. The purpose is to get the recruit to sign up for basic training. An interview. This definition of interviewing encompasses a wide variety of interviews. or explain a difficult psycho- in interviews. logical theory? Questions are the tools interviewers and interviewees employ to obtain information. questions and information sharing. take part in a performance review. ste06716_ch01_001-018. verify impressions and assumptions. An Air Force recruiter is meeting with a potential recruit and her parents at her home a few weeks after her graduation from a community college. that involves the asking and answering of questions. Some interviews. such as sales. they are very dif- An interview is a conversa- ferent. A representative from a large construction management firm is meeting with a stu- dent during an engineering job fair on campus. Most of us would send an e-mail instead or avoid contact. training. and per- formance review involve strategic questions from both parties designed to obtain or clarify information and to change another person’s ways of thinking. 4. and provoke feeling or thought. at least one of whom has a predetermined and serious purpose. Questions Asking and answering questions are important in all interviews. Charles Redding developed a “situational schema” that arranged interviews according to functions. information you might provide. then. check the accuracy of messages sent and received. Others. the case you will more.indd 4 8/23/07 2:23:43 PM . 4 Chapter 1 pleasant and rewarding. feeling. 2. A person is meeting with his doctor and her nurse practitioner to determine whether he will be able to play on the soccer team this spring. or what you will say if your request or application is rejected. Figure 1. or acting. and effective verbal and nonverbal messages. 3. counsel a roommate who is skipping too many lectures. Without either party asking and answering questions. is an interactional communication process between two parties.1 is an elaboration of this schema. And still others.

psychological.1 Types of interviews 1. thinks. coaching c. An academic counselor is discussing next semester’s classes with a counselee. Medical. An Introduction to Interviewing 5 Figure 1. Training. Receiving suggestions for solutions 7. Receiving complaints b. f. Grievances c. Correction. firing c. or acts 5. Selection a. Receiving suggestions 6. Discussing mutually shared problems b. Investigations: insurance. Changing the way a party feels. Fund-raising and development d. 6. Three members of a consulting firm are discussing a draft of their recommenda- tions over lunch prior to presenting the proposal later in the day. etc. Exit interviews c. caseworker. ste06716_ch01_001-018. Separation. Job-related instructions d. Appraisal. Placement 4. diagnostic. Screening b. Journalistic 3. discipline. Recruiting members c. Problems of interviewee’s behavior a. Research interviews d. Determinate c.indd 5 8/23/07 2:23:43 PM . Counseling 5. 7. police. instruction. Problem solving a. etc. Briefings 2. reprimand d. evaluative. Orientation b. Selling products and services b. Surveys and polls b. Information giving a. A professor is asking questions in her class concerning assigned readings and their practical applications to public relations. review b. Persuasion a. e. Problems of interviewer’s behavior a. Information gathering a.

8 Our relationships may be intimate with close family members. we may have a The situation pleasant. 10. A Relational Form of Communication The notion of relationship is inherent in our definition of interviewing because inter- views are reciprocal interactions between two parties and something two parties do Each interview together. friends. relational partners construct and modify patterns that define who they are for and with each other. Trenholm and Jensen claim interactions take “experience and flexibility.”13 Above all. you may encounter a recruiter or counselor for the first time. Anxiety may be high because one or both parties may have “nega- tive expectations based on a previous interaction. For instance. such as sales asso- ciates. A telemarketer is talking to a person on the phone about investing in a new alterna- tive fuel. or persons we have known for some time: physicians. restaurant owners. A television reporter is meeting with the mayor and police chief to discuss a recent crime wave on the north side of the city.”7 Stereotypes often play signifi- cant negative roles in interactions between strangers. department head or we begin to compete for a promotion.”9 Relationships change over time and during interactions. fellow profession- als. 6 Chapter 1 8. 9. For example. and teachers. the more we learn about alternative ways of orga- nizing relationships.”12 Relationships change because situations change.”6 Interviews with no prior history may be difficult “precisely because we don’t know the rules and so we don’t know exactly how to coordinate our conversational moves. Or they may be distant or formal and purely functional. supportive relationship with a fellow employee until we become this person’s may alter a relationship. or changing an existing pattern of interaction.”10 And Stephen Littlejohn writes that “people in a relationship are always creating a set of expectations. neighbors. not something they do to each other. clothiers.5 Both parties in interviews are con- contributes to a nected interpersonally and have varying degrees of interest in the relationship and relational the outcome of the interview. John Stewart and Carole Logan claim that “each time they communicate. A sales representative is attempting to sell a rolltop desk to a couple who are creat- ing an office in their home. reinforcing old ones. start-up company.indd 6 8/23/07 2:23:43 PM . attorneys. The result will be a 10-minute special on the evening news. A person who knows only one way to do things will have trouble confronting new approaches. Many of us are adept at dealing with routine and simple situations but encounter difficulty adapting to new situations and unexpected demands. They may be casual with co-workers. This relationship may commence with the start of the history. or years before. particularly during the first few minutes when parties have exchanged little personal information. interview or have a history that began days. and long- time acquaintances. they are something we recreate and refine every time we communicate. the more flexible we can become. or you may interact with a sales representative or supervisor with whom you have a long-standing and long- lasting relationship.”11 Trenholm and Jensen caution that “relationships are not something we create once. Trenholm and Jensen warn that “once a label is firm in our mind. plumbers. it tends to limit our perception of what we can do together. months. both parties in a ste06716_ch01_001-018. consulting physicians.

Inclusion/Involvement Relationships are cultivated when both parties want to take part and become actively Wanting to be involved as speakers and listeners. An Introduction to Interviewing 7 relationship must strive to be skillful communicators and to assume new roles while understanding what are acceptable and fitting behaviors in these roles. We may find it easier to interact with a person of the same sex. In fact. age. and caring at professional meetings. attend the same college. the more sat- involved leads isfying we are likely to find the relationship and to anticipate future interactions. Awareness of similarities enables interview parties to understand one another. The authors have discovered during their long careers that people they came to know primarily through contacts and experiences at professional conferences were not nearly as similar as they assumed from these contacts. church. be career-oriented. Effective relationships develop when the parties literally become interdependent. and profes- sional associations.”15 Their actions become joint actions and neither takes part with expectations that are either too high.indd 7 8/23/07 2:23:43 PM . training. These assumptions often proved to be untrue. They thought that since they were com- petent. age. but five are particularly relevant to interviews. The more we get involved and share. Affection or liking occurs in an interview when there is a “we” ste06716_ch01_001-018. The similarities exhibited at professional conferences were superficial at best. ethnicity—and assum- A few simi. These obvious similarities may be all that you larities do not have in common. show this satisfaction through words and actions. staff. and the recruiter may want to end a long day of endless interviews. and we don’t like it. and thus unrewarding or unfulfilling. and students. when “Each becomes aware that what” they do and not do “will have an impact on the other” and “each begins to act with the” other party “in mind. Unfortunately. share ethnic heritage. and adapt to perceptions. establish common ground. Judith Martin and Thomas Nakayama write that “similarity is based equal relational not on whether people actually are similar but on the perception of a similar trait. Sometimes we are “talked to” and “talked down to” rather than communi- cated with. or want to exchange information and ideas. social and religious activities. Affection Relationships are cultivated when parties like and respect one another. Relational Dimensions There are many relational dimensions. friendly. personality traits. attitudes. they were the same when they got back home and dealt day-to-day with departmental colleagues. We to meaningful interchanges. ing you have a great deal in common. We may come from the same neighborhood. we tend to form relationships most often with those in close proximity to us at work. experiences. or or too low. and expectations. an applicant may be interviewing merely for the experience rather than interest in the organization. thoughtful. Similarity Relationships are cultivated when both parties share cultural norms and values. or race. Be careful of noting a few surface similarities—dress.”14 peers. and thus unattainable. when there is warmth or friendship.

how- ever. “No one person can completely control a communication event. This leads some to claim that trust is a mind-set. Control often poses problems during interviews because they involve organiza- Upward and tional hierarchies or chains of command: president over vice president. professor over student. be. Chapter 2 discusses directive and non- directive approaches to interviewing.”16 Relational memory is a double-edged sword. such as interviews. productive. in which the interviewer controls the process or enables the interviewee to have considerable control over the process. We may come to an interview with an ambivalent. people we like. and how?’”18 The intent is to keep the interaction progressing toward a productive end for both parties.indd 8 8/23/07 2:23:44 PM . supervisor over an intern.” neither can control the process completely. A respon- dent may say no to a political pollster or hang up the telephone during a call from a charity. Some of us find showing affection difficult. One may have the power and author- a challenge in ity to determine when. however. some people trust few the outcome of an interview. and the results of the interview. at a com- fortable distance. rela- tionship memory structures provide a perceptual anchor [so] individuals can determine where they are in a relationship. ste06716_ch01_001-018. acquaintances as well as strangers. We may fear “closeness” and prefer to keep others. Unfortunately. Professors often fear getting too close to students they evaluate and reward. and students often fear closeness with professors because of the effect this may have on evaluations and how the professor and others may perceive it. or hostile attitude toward the other party. This upward and down- tion is often ward communication may handicap both parties. 8 Chapter 1 instead of a “me–you” or “we–they” feeling. manager over downward communica- associate. Control Because each party in interpersonal interactions. and fair. people. James Honeycutt writes that “even though relationships are in constant motion. or if an interview takes place. who the other party will interviews. but we can communicate in a way the other nicate more freely with party finds pleasant. ‘What can I help to happen next. relationships are cultivated when both parties share control and neither seeks a dominant role. An interviewer may do most of the talking in a sales interview or withhold information during a crime scene 10-minute interview. Negative memories may doom an interview before it starts while positive memo- ries may assure that it will be a pleasant and productive interaction.17 John Stewart claims that “nexting” is the most important communication tool because “Whenever you face a communication challenge or problem. the decision is how to use it. the most helpful question you can ask yourself is. where. Either party may have considerable control over the interaction. an attitude that influences our interactions. Thus.”20 It is healthy to be skeptical at times. particularly in formal settings. We are unlikely to establish a lasting We commu- friendship in a 5. As John Stewart points out. is “a participant in an ongoing process. and no single person or action causes—or can be blamed for—a communication outcome. negative. are inherently suspicious.”19 Trust Fisher and Brown claim that trust is the “single most important element of a good Trust alone working relationship” and that we must be trustworthy but not necessarily “wholly may determine trusting. and may border on paranoia.

longer-lasting commitments. hostile. long-term relationships and. and take a great deal of time establishing relationships. we may automatically withhold trust. Arabs. accents. like Arabs. reli- able. Rela- tionships are cultivated when the parties trust one another to be honest. understanding. Arabs believe friends have a duty to help one another. while men communicate “to exert control. sincere.23 While the twenty-first Americans create and discard relationships frequently.indd 9 8/23/07 2:23:44 PM . gestures. health. Unpredictable persons and outcomes lead to caution in questions and answers and the sharing of information. Men and Women in Relationships Men and Sex of participants is critical in establishing and refining relationships because they are women influenced by what we say and how we say it. informal relationships and to place consid- and work in erable importance on how a person looks. when we have anxiety about interacting with others. with whom. and kind but was notorious for losing his temper and shouting at faculty and staff during interactions. measured their words carefully. facial expressions). On the other hand. In the United cultures to live States. A supportive. in other words safe. and enhance status. Global Relationships Our social and work worlds have become global. There was no way to determine which person would appear at any moment.”24 Germans develop relationships slowly because they believe relationships are very important. friendly.”25 Men’s talk tends to be directive and goal-oriented. helpful. and feelings. truthful. ste06716_ch01_001-018. so interviewees tended to be cautious. and of high ethical and moral standards. we tend to have numerous friendly. helpful. obstructive. One of the authors dealt frequently with an administrator on his campus who was often understanding. unlike Americans who dislike taking advantage of relationships by asking for favors. profits. or hurtful climate severely limits trust and inevitably affects the disclosure that takes place and the sharing of ideas. Women use communication as a primary communicate differently. and Flores warn that “in intercultural conflict situations. see them as “filled with obligations. develop relationships quickly but. or constructive climate enhances trust and the quality of communication between the interview parties.”21 Martin. like Americans. Australians make deeper and century. preserve independence. the climate encountered. colleagues. so it’s important to understand how We must understand relationships are shaped and cultivated in different countries and cultures. we fear negative outcomes from our interactions with them. An Introduction to Interviewing 9 Trust is essential in interviews because how they are conducted. fair. particularly early in relationships.”22 We will not open up to persons we cannot trust to keep their word or fear will be negative or hostile. Chinese develop very strong. safety. purchases. want background infor- mation on parties before establishing relationships. we expect positive outcomes from our interactions with them. prefer doing business with people they have known for years. Nakayama. way of establishing relationships. The climate of the interview clearly affects trust. when we are expe- riencing high anxieties with unfamiliar behavior (for example. and their potential outcomes typically affect us directly—our incomes. attitudes. positive. Gudykunst and Kim write that “When we trust others. Japanese prefer not to interact with strangers or foreigners. Using first names before a relationship is firmly established is rude behav- ior. a criti- cal. and prepared themselves for the worst. even-tempered. negative. Risk may be too high. careers.

dress. reduce monetary expenses. performance reviews. however. tends to be more polite and expressive. students on their cell phones. answer or clarify questions directly. counsel- ing. and eliminate the time necessary to send staff to numerous locations. from dorm rooms. interviews no longer had to be face-to-face encounters. agreement. we wonder who they are talking to that early in the morning. in contrast. . Interviewers and interviewees can talk to several people at one time. containing less intense words. gestures. that seemingly takes place everywhere. with respondents giving fewer socially acceptable answers over the telephone and preferring the anonymity it provides. interview is convenient and A major problem with telephone interviews is the lack of “presence” of parties. Telephone interviews became so commonplace and irritating that many states and the federal government created “Don’t Call” lists to protect our privacy and sanity. . When we walk through our campuses at 7:00 in the morning and see. face.27 Other studies urge caution in turning too quickly to the telephone. they could be ear-to-ear. and hear. ste06716_ch01_001-018. we tend to think of a face-to-face meeting of two parties involved in information getting or giving. a voice is not the same as being able to observe an interviewer’s or interviewee’s appear- ance. recruiting. fund-raising campaigns. parks. manner. and it is difficult to make convincing confi- dentiality guarantees when not face-to-face. The Cell Phone The introduction of the cell phone just a few years ago has created a whole new world of “talking. 10 Chapter 1 with statements that “tend to press compliance. kitchens. One study found that interviewers do not like tele- phone interviews. Another study discovered that fewer interviewees (particularly older ones) prefer the telephone. . and posture. With the invention of the tele- phone. or belief. and disclaimers (“Maybe I’m wrong. and receive immediate The telephone feedback.” and we assume some listening. and classrooms. quali- fiers (perhaps. and other familiar settings. eye contact. and this attitude may affect how interviewees reply. They use conference calls to enable several members of an organization to ask questions and hear replies from staff and clients in multiple locations scattered over a wide geo- graphical area.” “I may not fully understand the situation. be heard while responding.indd 10 8/23/07 2:23:44 PM . and opinion polls to save time. . but . selling.”). Hearing inexpensive.26 Electronic Interviews The Telephone When we hear the word interview. and this may lower degree of cooperation. Some studies comparing telephone and face-to-face interviews suggest that the two methods produce similar communicative results. and backyards to restrooms.28 People may feel uneasy about discussing sensi- tive issues with strangers they cannot see. but . Organizations have turned to the telephone to conduct initial employment screen- ing interviews. maybe).” Women’s talk.

lounge area. gestures. videoconferencing has expanded well beyond this figure and to include many types of interviews. If these were just social conversations. or airport boarding area today and hear complete conver- sations that otherwise would be held behind closed doors to assure confidentiality. Above all. a significant majority (76%) said they preferred face-to-face interviews.” Although a sig- nificant majority of interviewers (88%) indicated that they would be willing to use videoconferencing for interviews. surveys indicated that 82 percent of companies were using or plan- ning to use videoconference technology to conduct recruiting interviews because it was less expensive. patients discussing their diagnoses and prescriptions with medical practitioners. It is more difficult to interact freely and naturally with people on a screen. enabled parties to see one another. grade adjustments. business. The growing sophistication of two-way video technology may reduce the prob- lems and concerns caused by critical nonverbal cues missing from the telephone. shouting to the person on the other end. Perhaps this is why participants provide more negative evaluations of others in the interview who may appear to dominate the process. The Videoconference By the late 1990s. perhaps. Although this technology would seem to be as good as “being there in person. and students requesting help with assignments. Since visual cues are limited to the top half or faces of participants. We could go to any restaurant. and personnel changes. interviewees should be aware of the impor- tance of upper-body movement. the problem would be merely annoying. One study showed that interviewers liked the video- conference because they could “unobtrusively take more notes. take notes. or group shots in the case of multiple-person interview parties. With technology. we have heard executives discussing mergers. and personal problems. of course. or refer to resumes without disrupting the flow of the interview” or. eye contact. They. However.29 Some ten years later. and personal cell phone interviews results from users. they had trouble “reading nonverbal behaviours such as facial expression. but they are a critical step forward in the interview process. can check their lists of questions. On the other hand. and fidgeting” and telling “whether a pause was due to the technology. and could be conducted glob- ally. One result is fewer interruptions that lead to longer and fewer turns by participants. Tiny headshots. or the applicant being stumped. eye contact.indd 11 8/23/07 2:23:44 PM . and these factors ste06716_ch01_001-018. apparently feeling they must talk loud enough for all of us within 75 feet to hear. there is no traditional handshake and the interviewee is alone in a room with the interviewer. Cell phone technology that allows parties to send visual images of one another while they are talking is a recent development. there are fewer nonverbal cues.30 Interviewees in teleconference interviews should be aware of the length of their answers to enhance turn-taking and avoid the appearance of trying to dominate the interview. being noticed by the other party. profit margins. too.” there are significant differences from face-to-face interviews. An Introduction to Interviewing 11 A new concern for the privacy of professional. check their watches. and watch their time without being noticed. are far from the pres- ence of face-to-face interviews. and facial expressions that will attract favorable and unfavorable attention.

and video talk-back. interviewees may have felt less pressured to deter- mine length and content of answers and expect some lag time between questions and responses. Try search views? How will new developments affect electronic engines such as ComAbstracts (http://www. and ERIC (http://www traditional face-to-face interviews? ste06716_ch01_001-018. and discuss problems at any time of the day or night and verbal cues nearly anywhere in the world. It has enabled large numbers of people to make inquiries. Small video cameras mounted on the computer that ON T H E WE B Learn more about the growing uses of electronic .yahoo. lacks the non- send and receive One study indicated that applicants in recruiting interviews were more satis- fied with their performance in face-to-face interviews when the interviews were less structured and more satisfied ■ The Internet can provide important information on positions and with their performance in organizations and background on interviewers and interviewees.32 Since questions in highly structured inter- views tend to require shorter answers. try to forget photo by Lucido Studio Inc. interviews in the future? How will the growing use Yahoo ( about the camera. the advantages and disadvantages of electronic inter- conference calls. But are these multiple-party interactions electronic mail critical in interviews. dress conser- vatively in solid 12 Chapter 1 may generate tension for some. Search at least two are electronic interviews most common? What are databases under headings such as telephone interviews.infoseek. limit movements. look at the camera full-face. rather than interviews? If two parties use the Internet to interact in real time. Follow these sugges- tions for a more effective and enjoyable interview: speak up so you can be heard easily. many interviews went from face-to-face and ear- The Internet to-ear to finger-to-finger. videoconference interviews when the interviews were highly structured. it meets our definition of an interview.indd 12 8/23/07 2:23:44 PM . In which interview settings interviews in a variety of settings. Infoseek(http:// of electronic interviews affect the ways we conduct www. The Internet With the introduction of the Internet.

Successful interviewing requires you to understand both parties. face. Most of us learn how to interview by observing others or taking part in interviews. have revealed that medical students. There is a vast difference between skilled and unskilled interviewers and interviewees. we want to help you improve your interviewing skills for a lifetime. Our purposes in writing this book are twofold. ste06716_ch01_001-018. One obstacle to overcome is the reluctance of parties to type lengthy answers to questions that they can provide easily in person or over the telephone. And. providing a few answers. voice. person-to-person interactions. or exchanging a bit of information or advice? But if you think interviewing is simple and basic skills come naturally. Interviewing is a learned. and gesture. What is so difficult about asking a few questions. if any. recall some of your recent experiences. not more effective. thus per- petuating many poor interviewing practices handed down from one generation to another. and this is posing new challenges and concerns. An Introduction to Interviewing 13 sends live pictures and sound between interview parties may make electronic inter- actions superior to the telephone and ever closer to the face-to-face interview. Because we are involved in interviews every day. The increasing flexibility of the telephone and the Internet is resulting in significant numbers of interviews no longer occurring face-to-face. skill and art. but 20 years of experience may be one year of flawed experience repeated 20 times. Studies in health care. Chapter 2 explains and illustrates the interviewing process by developing a model step-by-step that contains all of the fundamental elements that interact in each interview. second. First. feedback. The Internet’s potential seems unlimited and. Summary Interviewing is an interactional communication process between two parties. not merely while you are a student or a recent graduate looking for your first position. The first essential step in developing and improving interviewing skills is to understand the deceptively complex interviewing process and its many interacting variables. 3. the exchanging of roles. flexibility. perceptions of self and other. driving. we want to introduce you to the basic skills applicable for all interviews (Chapters 2. communication interactions.indd 13 8/23/07 2:23:45 PM . or cooking. and 4) and specific skills needed in specialized settings (Chapters 5 to 13). physicians. and a willingness to face risks involved in intimate. and nurses who do not receive formal training in interviewing patients actually become less effective interviewers over time. formal training. not an inherited. We assume that practice makes perfect. the small screen will continue to limit the visibility and effec- tiveness of nonverbal communication. This definition encompasses a wide variety of interview settings that require training. it will take on more of the properties of the traditional interview in which both parties not only ask and answer questions but communicate nonverbally through appearance. interpersonal skills. we assume the process is simple and requires little. situation. at least one of whom has a predetermined and serious purpose. as it becomes more visually interactive. that involves the asking and answering of questions. Unfortunately. for example. and the skilled ones know that practice makes perfect only if you know what you are prac- ticing. and perhaps the first hurdle to overcome is the assumption that we do it well because we do it so often. preparation. sort of like our golf swing. and the influence of outside forces.

The inter- view is taking place at 6:00 p. As you read this interview. Luis: Hi Sarah. Affection Interactional Questions Beliefs Internet Relational Casual Interpersonal Relational dimensions Control Interview Relational distance Conversation Intimate Relational history Culture Involvement Relationships Directive approach Motivate Safe Distant Motives Sex Downward communication Nondirective approach Similarity Dyadic Parties Structure Electronic interviews People System Exchanging Predetermined purpose Telephone Feelings Privacy Trust Formal Problem solving Upward communication Global relationships Process Videoconference Information Purpose An Interview for Review and Analysis Luis Martinez and Mary O’Reilly are neighbors in a historic neighborhood called Jefferson Hill near a large university campus. Although the homes of Luis and Mary are only a block from Sarah. their contact this evening.m. trash. and Sarah Hershberger. single-family nature of their area. traffic. Sarah: Uh. they have never met her. affection. and how appropriate is it? What is the predetermined purpose of this interview? When is it revealed? What roles do questions play? Assess the relationship between the parties by considering similarity. and trust. Is the relation- ship enhanced or lessened as the interview proceeds? How does lack of a “relational his- tory” affect this interview? 1. They are talking to neighbors. is a single mother of two grade-school-age children who moved into the neighborhood approximately one year ago.indd 14 8/23/07 2:23:45 PM . As an increasing number of students have chosen to live off campus and enrollments have far exceeded available residence hall capac- ity. and vandalism have become problems. Luis and Mary are attempting to create a Jeffer- son Hill Neighborhood Association to maintain the historic. ste06716_ch01_001-018. hi. think about answers to the following questions: Why is this an interview and not a small group discussion? How is this interaction fundamentally differ- ent from a speech or conversation? What is the approximate ratio of listening and speak- ing. inclusion/involvement. 14 Chapter 1 Key Terms and Concepts The online learning center for this text features FLASHCARDS and CROSSWORD PUZZLES for studying based on these terms and concepts. parking. Their children do not play with one another. developers have purchased large homes and either turned them into multiple apart- ments or demolished them to build apartment complexes. control. 2. Noise.

We are afraid both are rapidly disappearing. but I’m still trying to get unpacked. 4. I was concerned at first about traffic because of my two children. 18. and some of us do not have the income of well-established faculty and staff. single-family nature of the area. Sarah: Well. and finally whole homes. Sarah: I don’t think I’m going to run down the neighborhood by renting a room. I’m Sarah Hershberger. 21. 13. It can be a madhouse around here with a lot of drinking. Mary: Wait until August and nearly 75. If we don’t organize now. Sarah: I see. 22. Sarah: Is a formal association necessary? I’ve actually enjoyed many of the students. 17. for starters. Mary: That’s how it started! A few residents rented rooms. Luis: Mary and I are trying to organize a Jefferson Hill Neighborhood Association that would fight to maintain the historic. then apartments. Sarah: Hi. I don’t think we’ve met. Sarah: Oh? 12. (pause) I must admit that I’ve thought about renting a room or two to college students. Apartment buildings pop up like mushrooms each June. 19. Mary: I’m Mary O’Reilly and this is Luis Martinez. 11. Sarah: What’s this association supposed to do? I don’t want to be seen as antistudent and. you may not be aware of the problems we’re having with large numbers of university students moving into the neighborhood. 7. Luis: We live around the corner on Hill Top Drive. 8. I’m a single mother and need the income. and they’ve helped me with the yard and babysitting. 20. 23. it will soon be too late. 14. 16. Luis: Since you’ve lived here only a short time and not during football season. some of my neighbors are less neighborly than the students. 6.000 fans show up for the first football game. we would like to have Jefferson Hill rezoned for single-family dwellings only. We’re just about to sit down for dinner. but there have been no major problems. it’s been fairly quiet. Mary: We feel very strongly that it is way past due. Luis: Well. though we’ve been wanting to meet our new neighbors. Luis: It’s really something we hope to be able to do together. An Introduction to Interviewing 15 3. Mary: No I don’t think we have. Luis: It certainly is. frankly. This would stop developers from turning homes into apartments or tearing them down for apartments. Sarah: Uh huh? 5. Mary: The neighborhood has changed a lot in the past few years. What can I do for you? 10. It was a slippery slope that started with one room. Luis: How long have you lived in the neighborhood Sarah? 9.indd 15 8/23/07 2:23:45 PM . Sarah: Nearly a year. ste06716_ch01_001-018. 15. 24.

and I’m not a joiner of causes. classmate. Julia Roberts. Luis: If you have any questions. 16 Chapter 1 25. Student Activities 1. co-worker) who is willing to interview you and be interviewed by you. Luis: We would really value your input. 30. friend. Bush. Mary: Don’t think too long. 34. Make a list of what you consider to be the essential characteristics of good interviews. many in big cities. that’s been part of the problem. We’re not as concerned about live-in owners as we are about landlords who live miles away. gestures. What did you learn that was new? What assumptions proved faulty? What proportion of time did you spend speaking and listening? How were the interviews like and unlike social conversations? What roles did your relationship play? 3. Bill Gates) have on your assessment? 4. and then observe two interviews on television. Keep a journal of interviews you take part in during a week. What were the similari- ties and differences? Which similarities and differences were due to interview type: face-to-face. 33. Mary: Could we count on you to come to a neighborhood meeting to discuss the association and its concerns? 27. How well did each interview meet your criteria? What should each party have done differently to improve the inter- views? What influences did these interviews have on what you consider to be essen- tial criteria? What influences did relationships between interviewers (Oprah Winfrey. appearance. eye contact. and finger-to-finger? How did interactions vary? What prob- lems resulted from lack of presence. family member. Mary: None of us are joiners. Note their length. the roles you played. What surprised you about your participation in interviews during a single week? 2. ear-to-ear. Sarah: Maybe. and one over the Internet. you can call me at 235-2000. Select another person (roommate. size of the parties involved. Luis: We understand that and want young families to move into the neighborhood. Sarah: Thanks. 26.indd 16 8/23/07 2:23:45 PM . 29. 32. voice? How did you and the other party compensate for these? ste06716_ch01_001-018. facial expression. but you may not like to hear what I have to say. It was good to meet you and welcome to Jefferson Hill. Our homes and life- style are at stake. Larry King. My children are waiting for dinner. Sarah: Well. Barbara Walters) and interviewees (George W. Take part in three 10-minute interviews: one face-to-face. Take part in two five-minute interviews to discover everything you can about one another. 31. and the purpose of each interview. Make note of their characteristics. one over the telephone. Mary: And you can reach me at 235-4555. I’ll think about it. 28.

An Introduction to Interviewing 17 Notes 1. 336. p. 340.indd 17 8/23/07 2:23:46 PM . p. and Flores. 84. p. Communication with Strangers (New York: McGraw-Hill. Stewart. Thomas K. p. John Stewart. 19. 17. 13. 2004). 345. 104. Motley. 10. 30. CO: Morton. pp. p. Michael T. Martin and Nakayama. p. Donald W. 9. 343. 4. 12. Judith H. 1999). Gudykunst and Young Yun Kim. pp. 21. 18. 18. 334. 3. 334. Intercultural Communication: Experiences and Contexts (New York: McGraw-Hill. p. p. Interpersonal Communication (New York: Oxford. p. p. p. 20. 23. 2003). pp. 11. John Stewart. 33. Nakayama. 1995). p. 1998). 24. Stephen W. ed. p. John Stewart and Carole Logan. Fisher and S. Trenholm and Jensen (2004). Trenholm and Jensen (2004). CA: Wadsworth. Intercultural Communication in Contexts (New York: McGraw-Hill. p. Trenholm and Jensen. Martin. Martin. p. 251. Carley H. 7th ed. Flores. William B. 6. 8th ed. Stewart. R. Bridges Not Walls. 1998). 2004). 2002).” Western Journal of Speech Communication 54 (Fall 1990). p. ste06716_ch01_001-018. p. and Lisa A. “Communication as Interaction: A Reply to Beach and Bavelas.. (New York: McGraw-Hill. 44. p. p. p. 1996). p. 5. 277. Interpersonal Communication (Belmont. CA: Wadsworth. Littlejohn. 1996). James Honeycutt in Trenholm and Jensen (2004). (New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 22. 9. Stewart and Logan. 2. 339. Nakayama. Brown in Judith N. 15. Stewart. 8. Nakayama. Martin and Thomas K. Martin and Nakayama. Stewart. 176–193. 20. Bridges Not Walls: A Book about Interpersonal Communication. Theories of Human Communication (Belmont. p. 7. 21–24. Trenholm and Jensen (2004). 17. Dodd. Intercultural Encounters (Englewood. Dynamics of Intercultural Communication (New York: McGraw-Hill. Martin and Nakayama. 613–623. Martin and Nakayama. 25. 21. 29. p. Sarah Trenholm and Arthur Jensen. 2002). 161. Together: Communicating Interpersonally (New York: McGraw-Hill. 16. 16. 14. Klopf. 18. Trenholm and Jensen. 335.

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